Mesh Without Wires

May 12, 2011

City Surveillance System Proves its Worth in Carlisle, PA

The 5-camera wireless surveillance system has just been installed, but it’s already in local news, having caught a road rage incident, which lead to charges being filed against the allegedly guilty party.

Wireless City Suveillance System Firetide

Wireless city suveillance system captures a crime on 1st day of operation (click to view video)

The system uses Firetide’s wireless infrastructure mesh equipment, and has been implemented by Iron Sky, a Firetide VAR partner.

Quoting from The Sentinel article:

“The cameras were installed with both general crime prevention and crime detection in mind,” said Lt. Michael Dzezinski. “This is what they were designed to accomplish. Each of these cameras is not only capable of recording footage, but also providing live footage and being panned, tilted or zoomed as needed.”

“I’m actually not surprised by how quickly these cameras assisted in an investigation,” he added.

From Channel 21 video clip:

“The cameras themselves are capable of zooming in from as far out as a block away, we’ve actually been able to tell license plates.”

As you will notice from the numbers quoted – $75,000 for the initial system (5 cameras) and $200,000 for the upcoming 10-camera project in downtown, – the costs are fairly consistent with other wireless muni surveillance systems at $20,000-25,000 per camera location. Note that the costs include the entire project – not just radio and camera equipment on the pole. Numbers typically include IT infrastructure at the monitoring center (monitors, storage, IT upgrades in the datacenter), design, installation, any repeater nodes used, and sometimes annual maintenance.

See the local coverage:

For more Firetide video surveillance deployments, see:

/Image via Channel 21 News

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

March 2, 2011

Is Redundancy Important in Wireless Network Design?

We sometimes hear that mesh is an “overkill” and “why do you need redundancy in the first place?” If the network is designed properly (the skeptics continue), you don’t need redundant links anyway.

Aside from special situations when moving machinery can block your line of sight (such as in ports, mines, industrial facilities, warehouses, or construction sites), is there a case for redundant links in installations that don’t experience variations in line-of-sight conditions?

Absolutely! Just look at the pictures below:

Downed pole over a commuter train line

Downed pole over a commuter train line

Light pole downed due to a car accident

Electric pole damaged in a car accident

Light pole down at a stadium, apparently due to age

Light pole down at a stadium, apparently due to age

So while today’s wireless equipment is extremely reliable, the infrastructure it goes on – not so much. Weather, age, defects in construction, drunk (or distracted) drivers – these are the ‘hazards’ that often call for redundancy in wireless design.

Redundancy of course comes at a cost – in equipment and installation labor. But you should definitely consider it for your critical links – the ones that aggregate traffic from multiple cameras, for example, on the way to the command center.

I should also note that Firetide “pays you back” some of the investment in a redundant architecture by allowing you to load balance your traffic across multiple links. During the normal operation of your network, your redundant link is not just idling, waiting for a failure to occur, but can actively participate in increasing overall capacity of your network.

For more topics on wireless network design, see:

/Images sourced via “pole down” web search

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

February 24, 2011

Wi-Fi in Train Tunnels? There’s Mesh For That!

Filed under: Wireless backhaul,Wireless LAN,Wireless Mesh — kseniacoffman @ 9:06 am
Tags:

Wi-Fi needs mesh, too

I covered infrastructure mobility as a unique mesh differentiator several times (see links below the post). Here’s another example of an infrastructure mobility project – to eliminate Wi-Fi blind spots and add bandwidth for Amtrak passengers traveling to and from New York City.

Contracted by Amtrak, Firetide’s integration partner OCLMedia deployed a dedicated wireless network that delivered a high-speed signal to trains traveling through the New York tunnels and when stopped at the New York Penn Station platforms. Previously, when an Acela Express train arrived in the tunnels under the East River and Hudson River, Wi-Fi coverage was interrupted due to a lack of cellular broadband signal.

No fiber? No problem!

OCLMedia installed Firetide mesh nodes in the 12 miles of tunnels and on the trains. Firetide’s infrastructure mobility architecture allows for uninterrupted connection between the fixed and mobile nodes, delivering seamless Wi-Fi for the passengers.

In contrast with previous infrastructure mobility projects we announced (Seoul Subway, Mumbai Metro), there was no fiber in the tunnels (or at least none that was available for the project). The fixed mesh nodes provided an alternative to installing fiber in the tunnels, which would have taken 2-3 years to deploy and the costs would have been five times as much as the wireless mesh solution. OCLMedia’s timeframe was 2-3 months for this project.

How does the network look like?

The mesh nodes (7000 series) are placed both in the tunnels, and in Penn Station itself. The spacing in the tunnels varies, because of of the varying ‘curvature’ of the tunnels. Mobility Controller (on the back end) manages high-speed mobility and roaming between meshes. The access points on the trains are not Firetide’s; they were already in place before the mesh project started. But for a greenfield installations, the access points are likely to be Firetide’s.

Amtrak network diagram: fixed and mobile mesh

Amtrak network diagram: fixed and mobile mesh (click to enlarge)

More to come?

The installation is part of the network that supports AmtrakConnect®, the free Wi-Fi service now installed on Amtrak Acela Express trains and coming later this year to Northeast Regional and other Amtrak trains.

This project shows that mesh technology provides a cost-effective alternative to fiber while infrastructure mobility adds unique capabilities, not possible with any other wireless or wired approach. Wireless mesh essentially extends wire-like connectivity all the way to the train.

See the announcement: Wireless Mesh Provides Wi-Fi Coverage For Passengers Through New York Penn Station

For more posts on infrastructure mobility, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

/Amtrak Wi-Fi logo image via Amtrak

February 9, 2011

How Long Does Mesh Go?

Filed under: Wireless backhaul,Wireless Mesh — kseniacoffman @ 12:08 pm
Tags:

Every now and then we get questions on the distances Firetide mesh equipment can provide.

So how long can mesh go?

Even though many of our projects are in urban settings, with link distances ranging from 1/4 mile to 2 miles, mesh is being deployed in rural and remote settings, where link distances of 3-6 miles are fairly common.

One of the farthest links I came across in our deployments was a 35-km (21.7 miles) shot in South Korea. The link is part of the project with KT (Korea Telecom) to provide internet to residents of remote islands.  This particular link is from Daecheon city to Ho-do island.

Long-distance mesh link

Firetide long-distance mesh - S. Korea

long distance mesh

Ground view: mesh node and antenna

Parabolic antennas are recommended for long-distance links. This link above uses (what looks like) a 2-ft dish.

In the US, the longest link that I’m aware of was for a temporary installation at a government facility. I do not have pictures of the install, since this was a secure site: no picture taking allowed. The link used dual-radio mesh nodes in bonded mode for a point-to-point connection, achieving 50 Mbps UDP throughput over 27 miles, with 3-ft dish antennas. (Note that this deployment used our non-MIMO mesh series.) The link was in operation for 1 year.

For another long-distance mesh project (11-mile links), see Firetide Wireless Mesh Brings Rural Korean Communities Into the Network Fold.

For more discussion on mesh technology, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

January 18, 2011

Wireless Networks Bridge Past and Present in S. Korea’s River Restoration Project

Han River Firetide Wireless Mesh Node

Firetide wireless mesh node installed at Han River

Even though we are headquartered in the US, our most innovative and creative projects seem to happen in Asia Pacific first, and specifically in Korea. The latest example of this trend is the “4 Rivers” restoration project, which takes advantage of Firetide’s extensive product line – mesh, access points and customer premises equipment. The network is also multi-service, supporting a variety of applications: from public safety and emergency preparedness to free public Wi-Fi.

Billion dollar river restoration project

The South Korean government is undertaking a two billion dollar restoration project of the country’s four major rivers – the Han River, the Yeongsan River, the Nakdong River and the Seomjin River – and surrounding recreational areas. When completed in 2012, the multi-service wireless infrastructure will provide a sensor network for water level, temperature and pollution measurement; a video surveillance network to monitor the dams; and public Wi-Fi service for adjacent riverside parks.  Funded by the government, the project’s main objective is to prevent disasters caused by flooding, while supporting environmental preservation and attracting more visitors to the area.

240 miles of rivers to be covered

The four major rivers are over 240 miles in length combined. To cover this area, more than 200 Firetide MIMO and non-MIMO mesh nodes along with 300 cameras from Sony, Axis Communications and Samsung will be deployed to support the sensor and video surveillance applications. In addition, free public Wi-Fi service will be provided in adjacent parks using Firetide’s 802.11n wireless access points and customer premise equipment (CPEs).

Unique wireless mesh design

This projects illustrates the convergence of voice, video and data services over a wireless network – deployed in areas previously thought impossible or impractical to connect. The diagram below shows a section of the network, deployed in a redundant linear loop topology. Where the bends of the river allow, additional redundant links are built in to connect nodes within the chain. The section depicts about 10 km of a river “as the crow flies.”

4 Rivers Firetide Wireless Mesh

"4 Rivers" wireless mesh design

Backbone for ‘u-Korea’ projects

The wireless mesh technology being used in the ‘4 Rivers’ project has also been deployed in other South Korean wireless projects such mobile video surveillance at Seoul Subway, “children safety zones” in Seoul, and parks,  beaches and other recreational areas is Korea’s largest cities. We can even say that Firetide is the de facto wireless mesh standard for the backbone of South Korea’s ‘u-City’ government-supported programs to bring ubiquitous digital services to residents, tourists, employees and businesses throughout the country.

For more information, read the press release: Firetide’s Wireless Mesh Networks Bridge Past and Present in South Korea’s Four Rivers Billion Dollar Restoration Project

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

January 11, 2011

Jan 26 Seminar: Designing and Specifying High-performance Wireless Infrastructure

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology,Wireless backhaul,Wireless Mesh,WLAN — kseniacoffman @ 9:20 am

If you are our neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area, or willing to drive/fly, join us for an upcoming seminar organized by Firetide in Pleasanton, California on January 26.

Specifying and Designing High-Performance Wireless Infrastructure
Wednesday January 26, 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM

Why is wireless infrastructure essential?

Wireless is gaining acceptance as a reliable transport and an alternative to cable and fiber in municipal video surveillance, transportation, government, education and industrial installations. Did you know that deploying wireless instead of fiber can save up to 90% of network infrastructure costs? This translates to projects moving forward, rather than being bogged down in funding discussions.

Who should attend?

If you are researching, planning or specifying a wireless infrastructure projects – don’t miss this event. The seminar is designed for security and IT network integrators, A&E and infrastructure consultants, public safety technology leaders, security directors, network and IT managers tasked with managing wireless infrastructure initiatives, or extending reach of security and IT networks to areas where wired infrastructure does not exist.

What information will you receive?

This full day seminar will provide essential information about wireless technology options and design considerations for high-performance wireless infrastructure for real-time video surveillance, voice and data applications:

    Our RF guru imparts his wisdom at an 2010 seminar

    Our RF guru imparts his wisdom at an 2010 seminar

  • Design considerations for wireless IP networking
  • Wireless technology options, and how to pick the right one for the project
  • Mistakes to avoid during specification and design

What topics will be covered?

  • Designing for High-performance Wireless; Wireless Trends
  • RF Basics for Successful Project Design
  • Wireless applications; Mesh and mobility
  • Wireless Infrastructure: Project Fit and Key Differentiators
  • Specification & Design: Approaches; Tools; Best Practices

What past attendees have been saying?

“Enjoyed interaction and two-way communications. It was not just a lecture, but back-and-forth.”

“Good mix of content, technical vs. applications.”

“All of the presenters were very knowledgeable, and were able to answer our questions effectively.”

Sounds interesting?

The seminar will be focused on wireless for government, commercial and transportation applications (i.e. we will not be covering in-home, consumer-grade Wi-Fi) and will use Firetide’s technology and deployments as examples. If you have an interest in industrial-grade wireless technology, mesh networking or Firetide, you will benefit from this event. This seminar is approved for BICSI Continuing Education Credits (CEC); you will receive 4 to 6 CECs (details on BICSI web site).

If you are interested in this event, please send an email to Ksenia Coffman (kcoffman-at-firetide-dot-com).

Cannot make it to Pleasanton? We will host this seminar in other locations throughout the United States in 2011. Stay tuned!

Interested in wireless mesh technology and mesh design? See these posts:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

December 21, 2010

Layer 2 vs Layer 3 in Wireless Mesh: Do You Have to Choose?

Filed under: Technology,Wireless,Wireless backhaul,Wireless Mesh — kseniacoffman @ 12:37 pm

There are many questions regarding Firetide’s mesh technology, and this posts attempts to address some of them. As you will see from the post, Firetide’s mesh is neither Layer 2 nor Layer 3, but a hybrid, unique to the industry.

Layer 2 / Layer 3 Hybrid Approach

Layer 2 vs Layer 3 benefits and trade-offs have been a topic of discussion for a couple of decades as both approaches have their benefits and drawbacks. Firetide offers a L2/L3 hybrid approach, which leverages the positives from both technologies and does away with the shortcomings, such as Layer 2’s lack of scalability and Layer 3’s latency and chattiness.

Firetide’s technology looks as a Layer 2 switch to outside world. Internally Firetide uses a Layer 3 approach to deliver the packets from an injection point of the mesh to an exit point. In doing so the packets can be load-balanced and re-routed based on advanced metrics maintained within the mesh. The hybrid approach makes the wireless network more scalable as well as enhances its performance.

Distributed Wireless Ethernet Switch

Firetide infrastructure mesh is built out of Firetide mesh nodes, which, combined into a network topology (mesh, point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, or a combination), form a “distributed wireless Ethernet switch.” The mesh nodes (in our terminology) are neither access points nor routers. Hence we call them nodes.

The term “distributed wireless Ethernet switch” means that the features provided are equivalent to a traditional wired Ethernet switch. In a wired Ethernet switch, Ethernet interfaces are provided via line cards on a chassis based model. The central switching is done via a central card that switches Ethernet packets from one line card port to another line card port. Firetide follows a similar approach. The line card equivalent of Firetide’s product offering is the mesh node, while the central switch is the radio medium itself. The nodes may be a mile to several miles apart.

The simplicity of Ethernet switch is illustrated the point that a 100-port Ethernet switch needs one single management IP address. In the same way, a 100-port Firetide mesh (formed with 25 indoor mesh nodes, for example) will have a single management IP address. The distributed Ethernet switch architecture is patented technology of Firetide and provides:

  • Seamless transport of IPV4 and IPV6 packets
  • Load balancing across the entire mesh
  • End-to-end encapsulation (on top of encryption) for added security, reliable handling of multicast traffic, and no introduced jitter
  • Simple installation and expansion of a mesh network. With a ‘routed mesh,’ this would require a complex configuration whereas each node has unique user-described IP address etc.

Firetide is the only provider with a distributed Ethernet switch-based infrastructure mesh. Most other wireless mesh in the market is a simple extension of access point-based technology, although some Layer 3 mesh also exists.

Flow-based Routing

The stitching of Layer 2 and Layer 3 is done on a flow-based model. The flows are Ethernet flows that are maintained within the mesh domain. The flows are then wirelessly switched across the distributed radio infrastructure.

Firetide built a protocol from the ground up with wireless in mind. Our flow-based routing algorithm creates a unique tunnel by encapsulating each packet with a flow instruction header specific to each stream; the header defines the least cost route for that specific packet from its source to its destination. Since flow instruction headers are used to determine the destination, the packets do not undergo deep packet inspection at each hop. In this way, we avoid extra overhead created by the millions of pings involved in resetting routing tables. Reduced overhead means more throughput for the user traffic.

These flows also help maintain unique, synchronous streams end-to-end. By maintaining the packets in these non-interleaved tunnels, the mesh makes sure that the packets arrive at the destination on time, in order, and with no introduced jitter (variation of latency).

Firetide mesh networks use load balancing across multiple paths for maximum network capacity. The mesh nodes manage the traffic across the network and can intelligently decide along which of 3 predefined flows a packet should be sent.

Performance

Firetide offers industry’s only wireless mesh that provides 100-150 Mbps of UDP payload sustained over multiple hops in outdoor deployments (real throughput, not theoretical data rate). When deployed in point-to-point mode, through radio bonding, we can provide real-world throughput of 200-300 Mbps outdoors.

What Firetide Mesh is Not

Even though Firetide mesh looks to the outside world as a Layer 2 switch, it does not perform “Layer 2 switching,” nor is it based on bridging two Wi-Fi radios together in WDS mode. On the switching side, Firetide mesh uses cut-through forwarding, as opposed to store-and-forward methodology. (Here’s a good definition from Cisco: “Whereas a store-and-forward switch makes a forwarding decision on a data packet after it has received the whole frame and checked its integrity, a cut-through switch engages in the forwarding process soon after it has examined the destination MAC (DMAC) address of an incoming frame.” See more on the two approaches: Cut-Through and Store-and-Forward Ethernet Switching for Low-Latency Environments.) In other words, Firetide mesh protocol performs proper routing across multiple hops, with cut-through forwarding approach allowing for industry’s lowest latency in wireless mesh: sub 1 ms per hop.

More questions? Please let me know in comments or via Twitter.

For more discussion on mesh technology, see

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

December 15, 2010

LA County Video Mesh Profiled in Law Officer Magazine

LASD Century Station Dispatch Center

LASD Century Station Dispatch Center

There are some deployments that just “keep on giving” in terms of continued success and resulting press coverage. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is among them. I recently came across an article in Law Officer magazine, which details the ASAP (Advanced Surveillance And Protection) program implemented by the LASD’s Century Station in Lynwood, CA (an unincorporated area in Los Angeles.)

The article describes Lynwood and surrounding areas as follows: “Covering a little more than 13 square miles, with a population of about 200,000, LASD’s Century Station deputies patrol some of the most challenging streets in the nation. Prostitution and drug use are common. Gunshots and gang violence are seemingly endemic, and successful solutions to reduce crime are hard to come by.” I was at the station once, and let me tell you, that’s not the neighborhood you want to get lost in (which my companion and I did on the way there).

What’s impressive about the program is the integration of numerous technologies, changing the way law enforcement goes about their daily business: “LASD staff has used a strategy that involves cutting-edge technology to bring about change for these communities. The department has implemented an IP video surveillance system, a gunshot recognition system, license plate recognition (LPR) and in-field fingerprint scanning into a comprehensive approach to policing.” The video wall is right in the dispatch center, so it’s easily accessible to watch deputies. They bring up cameras as they get calls for service, and are able to track suspects or ‘watch over’ a stop performed by deputies on the ground.

The article elaborates on the video mesh system:

“IP Video Surveillance Cameras
In the initial approach to a monumental crime problem, the LASD installed eight surveillance cameras in areas that had a high number of calls for service, particularly for violent crime. These first cameras were funded as a proof of concept through the Safe Cities program. The success led to additional installations that now total 34 cameras, with 10 additional installations planned in the near term.

Because of bandwidth, line-of-sight and other environmental limitations, the construction of a wireless network to support an IP video system posed numerous challenges. Among them, fiber-optic infrastructure is not available in Lynwood, requiring wireless technology that would support real-time, high-quality video (4CIF/30 FPS). The obstacles were addressed in the initial proof of concept, and the successful design was replicated in later installations.

Sgt. Chris Kovac, who oversaw the Lynwood IP video surveillance project, emphasizes that one of the most important factors in the success of a technology project is the selection of a vendor that has the skill and experience to accomplish what they promise.

In the Lynwood case, LASD put the project out for competitive bid. The successful bidder was Leverage Information Systems, a Washington-based company with an office in the area. Sgt. Kovac found that after the first installation, Leverage was able to replicate its initial design, which enabled Lynwood to expand its system easily.

Presently, all cameras are linked via a Firetide wireless mesh network to the Century Station dispatch center, where deputies can both view and control the cameras in real time. Although no one is assigned to continually monitor the cameras, the deputies use them as a response tool. They can later retrieve video to aid in criminal investigations. In fact, the IP video system is now a standard form of doing business in the city of Lynwood.”

Read the full article on Law Officer web site: Caught on Tape: How one agency used technology to slash crime.

For more information on LASD’s use of video mesh technology, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

December 9, 2010

Is Firetide Mesh Hardware Attractive? SecurityInfoWatch Must Think So

Filed under: Physical Security,Public Safety Wireless,Wireless backhaul,Wireless Mesh — kseniacoffman @ 10:39 am

Ever since we released our HotPort 7000 infrastructure mesh, we’ve been getting comments from resellers and end-customers alike that the hardware is ‘solid,’ ‘great form factor,’ ‘more capacity packed into a smaller package,’ etc. I got further proof of positive vibes that the nodes generate when I was reading an article by Fredrik Nilsson of Axis Communications on SecurityInfoWatch.com entitled “Going the distance with IP video.” The article was interesting, discussing ways to overcome the distance limitations in IP video imposed by the Ethernet cable standards (330 feet). I was encouraged to see that, in addition to wired solution, the article discussed wireless technology, and specifically wireless mesh, as a way to extend the reach of IP networks ‘many miles.’ Nilsson notes:

“Wireless mesh. Self-healing wireless mesh networks are popular when the area that has to be covered is large and requires many cameras. The nodes cover a broad area and provide overlapping and backup coverage through multiple transmission paths. A wireless broadband mesh generally operates at 4.9 GHz [5 GHz is also used for video surveillance, since 4.9 GHz band is reserved for public safety agencies in the US – comment by Ksenia Coffman] and can include hundreds of nodes, which makes it an ideal option for city center surveillance systems covering several square miles. The drawback is that it isn’t very economical for small system implementations.”

But I was completely taken by surprise to see a Firetide 7000 mesh node illustrating the mesh section! SecurityInfoWatch must have supplied the art, as I don’t recall us providing them the image specifically for this article:

Firetide MIMO mesh node on SecurityInfoWatch.com

Firetide MIMO mesh node on SecurityInfoWatch.com

Updated 12/13/2010: I ran into Geoff Kohl at CAA convention in San Francisco, and asked him about the article. Per Geoff, it was Axis who selected the artwork. So thanks SecurityInfoWatch and Axis!

To see Firetide 7000 mesh ‘in the wild,’ check out these posts:

Read the entire article by Fredrik Nilsson: Eye on Video: Going the Distance with IP Video

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

November 11, 2010

ASIS 2010 Dallas PD Tour Goes Mainstream

The Dallas PD tour at ASIS 2010 continues to garner coverage.

A local news web site Pegasus News picked up the video tour recorded by Steve Titch: Video: Watch criminals strike, from the Dallas Police’s point of view. The author notes:

“The video takes a look into the Dallas Police Department’s video surveillance operations center, toured by Titch on October 11 during American Society for Industrial Security international seminar. Titch is a Houston resident whose business is sharing information about the latest in surveillance. He tells me via email, “I posted the video because it provided difficult-to-get comments from police officers who could speak to their experience with the technology, as well as footage from the operations center itself. For my audience, the video provides an example of an up-to-date implementation of urban video surveillance built incrementally with fairly economical technology (wireless), a topic on which many are seeking more information.”

Security Management magazine, the official publication of ASIS, published a comprehensive story on Dallas security in its October issue, including the Dallas PD use of technology and their camera system. The story also covers the Cowboy Stadium security, Dallas Fusion Center, and provides more details on the role of Downtown Dallas Inc in downtown security: How Dallas Does Security. Quoting from the article:

City surveillance system. Cameras survey the area according to a programmed schedule, but they can only pan down and move side to side so as to protect the privacy of businesses and residents. “All we concentrate on is what is in the public view,” says Lieutenant Tony Crawford, who serves as watch commander and oversees the camera system.

“The main monitoring center is located in the Dallas City Hall along with the police 911 dispatch center. Another monitoring station is placed in the Dallas Fusion Center (more on this later). Approximately 35 police officers work in shifts of four to watch the cameras around the clock. Camera feeds are continuously recorded at 25 frames per second and stored for up to 14 days. According to Crawford, the high resolution helps police capture details such as license plate numbers.

Dallas Fusion Center. The Dallas Police Department’s Fusion Center was founded in 2007 and operated during business hours with three officers until last year when it received $3 million in federal grants under the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative. Now, with 35 officers assigned to the center, it operates around the clock analyzing news, local camera feeds, and national security information.

“Officers monitor more than 25 databases from computer screens located around the center. The video from the city’s camera system feeds into the center, and officers there can control the pan-tilt-zoom features of the cameras if necessary. Also, all 911 calls are fed into the center and recorded. Television screens carry CNN and other 24-hour news stations.”

Since we are on the subject of the Dallas PD tour, here’s a picture I took in the Camera Unit, showing a real-time zoom onto a license plate from the wireless-networked camera. I asked the camera operator to zoom in, and there was no lag or hesitation from the camera:

Camera zoom - Dallas PD ASIS 2010 tour

Camera zoom onto a license plate (click to enlarge)

For more posts from ASIS 2010, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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